Overview

Cynthia A. "Cindy" Gierhart is a Washington, D.C., litigation attorney whose practice is focused on media, trademark, copyright and entertainment law.

Ms. Gierhart has represented clients in litigation involving right of publicity, defamation, trademark, copyright, trade secrets and access to judicial records. She has also negotiated book, film and podcast agreements.

Additionally, Ms. Gierhart has extensive experience representing developers in zoning appeals before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, as well as engaging in an all aspects of general commercial litigation, including numerous contract and property disputes.

Prior to attending law school, Ms. Gierhart worked for eight years as a newspaper reporter and editor, project manager in book publishing and freelance book editor. She brings this perspective to her work advising clients on First Amendment issues and negotiating agreements for companies and individuals involved in book publishing, filmmaking and podcast production. In addition, Ms. Gierhart taught a media law course as an adjunct professor at American University.

Media, Entertainment, Copyright and Trademark

  • Represented Oscar-nominated documentary filmmakers against a right-of-publicity claim, successfully having the case dismissed on demurrer
  • Successfully defended a blogger against a defamation action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, resulting in dismissal
  • Advise clients on accessing records via the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and state open records laws; appeal and litigate adverse FOIA decisions
  • Represent news media in an unsealing action, seeking access to judicial records
  • Engage in extensive trademark litigation in federal district court, as well as domestic trademark registration and prosecution
  • Represent clients in cancellation and opposition proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB)
  • Assisted in the defense of a copyright infringement action, successfully having the case dismissed on a motion for summary judgment
  • Assist in registering copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office, including appeals of adverse decisions
  • Negotiate book, film and podcast agreements

Land Use, Zoning Appeals

  • Represent developers in appellate challenges to Zoning Commission approval of planned unit developments (PUDs) in the District of Columbia
  • Argued twice in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals on behalf of business owners appealing Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) decisions

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Gierhart clerked for the Honorable John Ramsey Johnson in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. She also worked as a legal fellow with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and at the American Association for Justice.

Credentials

Education
  • American University, Washington College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude
  • University for Peace, M.A., International Law and the Settlement of Disputes
  • University of Illinois, B.S., Print Journalism
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • District of Columbia
  • New York
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
Memberships
  • District of Columbia Bar Association, Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law Community, Elected Committee Member, 2017-Present; Co-Chair, 2020-2021
  • International Trademark Association, Right of Publicity Committee, 2020-2021
  • American Bar Association, Forum on Communications Law
  • American University International Law Review, Editor in Chief
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Washington, D.C. Commercial Litigation Ones to Watch, 2024
  • Holland & Knight Pro Bono All-Star, 2017-2022
  • Order of the Coif

Publications

Speaking Engagements